Half-Life 2: Episode 2: Vapourware

Valve have really dropped the ball with their "episodes".
SiN: Episode One was released, what? Two and half decades ago? Sounds about right. I can't even remember when Half-Life 2: Episode One was released.
Recently Valve announced that Half-Life 2: Episode 2 will be pushed back until the end of the year. That's over a year between episodes one and two.

The whole idea behind episodic content was that there were supposed to be constant game releases with short development times between, a month or two, three at the most.
First you create the initial game. In this case, Half-Life 2. Half-Life 2 brings the engine, the sounds, the models, textures and everything else. Then the episodes come, short bursts of gameplay that bring new levels and further the story. Maybe throw in a new weapon or enemy every few episodes. Like short little mods.

Sam and Max 03 - Being Dead Is Boring
Being Dead Is Boring

Now let's take a look at someone else. Telltale Games. The developers of the new breed of Sam and Max games. Also in episodic form. Yesterday they released the third episode in as many months (not including December which they took off for the holidays). They are following the rules of episodic content to perfection. These are short games, released every month that continue an overall arc, but have self-contained plots themselves.
And, might I add, they are doing an amazing job with Sam and Max. Great games, so much fun.

There are two theories that I have as to why Valve can't keep releasing their episodes on time.
First, I think maybe they've set their standard too high. Taking so long to create Half-Life 2, which isn't the longest game in the world, they probably can't even meet their own standards.
My other theory is maybe they've piled on too much work for themselves. Episode 2 was to come in package containing not only the episode but two other mods, Team Fortress 2 and Portal. Maybe they just can't get it all done in time.
Either way I think it's about time they remove the "episode" and "episodic" labels from the game. It's not episodic.
It's an expansion pack.

I don't think even the devs know when SiN Episode 2 is coming out. I wonder if they are even working on it. I wonder if anyone's even wondering where the second episode is? Probably not.
Well, I guess I was. Just then.

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Why are people still calling the Xbox 360, the Playstation 3 and even the Wii Next-Generation Consoles?
They aren't. Not any more. They are current generation. They are out, we are playing them, we can go out, buy one and be playing it right now. Next-Generation implies the next generation. The PS2, the GameCube and the Xbox were all known as Next-Generation before they came out.
What gets me is that even developers are still calling them Next-Gen. I almost threw up when Cliff "CliffyB" Bleszinski said "Let's get back on Xbox Live for some next-generation gaming" during the Gears of War Map Pack 1 Preview movie. Maybe he slipped, maybe he was referring to playing it on an unreleased Xbox Three-Hundred-and-Sixty-One.

Seriously though, stop it.
If anyone mentions NextGen to me I'm instantly going to assume they mean whatever the successors to the 360, Wii and PS3 will be.

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Infernal Demo

Pretty Effects
Pretty Effects

This game is pretty slick. From what I understand from the in-game banter, your character has been given various supernatural power by your boss, who goes by the name of... Boss. I'm not sure why he's given you these powers, or why I'm going around killing various mercenaries and monks, and to be honest, I don't really care, this is fun! Screw storyline or plot when you have gameplay as great as this.

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The Slow Degredation of Comic Book Language

Today we learn about emphasis in the English language.
Emphasising text with bold or italics (or if your an Internetsian: CAPSLOCK) is the common way to get your point across in writing.
After all, there's a big difference between, "I really like the sky" and "I really like the sky". You can tell the author of the second comment enjoys the sky much more than the first.
Comic authors do this all the time. In fact I think you'll be hard-pressed to find a comic that doesn't do it. Notice that? Emphasis really changes the way you read the sentence.

Here's a snip from the classic comic book circa 1998, Preacher #44 - Custer's Law.
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Notice the emphasis here. "And that they bred."
Perfectly understandable and logical use of emphasis.

Now let's take a look at this month's White Tiger #3.
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Here's a shot of spidey's linguistic elitism.
It starts off well enough, "Why not use your Family NYPD connections to find out what really happened here."
Then it get's a little stranger.
"I don't know about you, but I'm tired of people with secret agendas popping into my life."
I don't know about you, Spidey, but that's a little too much emphasis in one sentence for my liking. Maybe Spidey talks like that, who am I to judge?

White Tiger #3 again:
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"Step careful. Don't say any more on the job. Tell me at the house on Sunday."
"That would be me, baby brother."
Hear that? That's the sound of about half of my brain-cells just dying.

There's just no excuse for that kind of appalling language.
I long for the days when you'd only see one or two emphasis' on a page, rather than the hundred-odd per page you see now.
As I said above, there's a big difference between, "I really like the sky" and, "I really like the sky". But only an idiot (in my mind) would say something to effect of, "I really like the sky". That's just confusing and awkward to say. Are there people out there that really talk like that?

I really like the sky hope this isn't a sign of things to come. I get two dozen or so comics every month and as far as I can recall (not much) I'm pretty sure this is the only one that anally rapes the English language on a per-page-basis, so maybe there's still hope.

PS: If anyone comments in alternating emphasis I'll delete you from the internets. I can do it too, I hacked the admin password for the internets.

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Hitman: Bloody Awesome

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Careful, the floor is wet!

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